38th Floor Bar Rescue Update (Mandala Lounge) – Still Open Today?

Is 38th Floor Bar still open today?

Status: >> CLOSED <<
(keep reading to learn what happened)

Season: 4 | View All Season 4 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: April 12, 2015
The Bar's Original Name Was: Mandala Lounge
38th Floor Bar Address: 38 E 25th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94403

38th Floor Bar

Episode Recap

Originally known as Mandala Lounge, 38th Floor Bar was a bar in San Mateo, California that was originally featured on Season 4 of Bar Rescue.

Though the 38th Floor Bar Rescue episode aired in April 2015, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.

It was Season 4 Episode 20 and the episode name was “Mandala Down”.

In this episode, Jon Taffer heads to the Mandala Lounge in San Mateo, CA.

If you’re not familiar with California geography, San Mateo is located on the San Francisco peninsula, to the south of San Francisco proper.

As such, it’s a pretty expensive area, which should mean there are lots of wealthy people who are willing to pay money for good cocktails.

Mandala Lounge got its original start back in 2007, when Greg Hawkins first launched the bar.

Mandala Lounge owner Greg Hawkins on Bar Rescue

Originally, it was a success and Mandala Lounge was one of the few high-quality cocktail bars in San Mateo, California.

However, the economic crash in 2008 (AKA the Great Recession) really did a number on Mandala Lounge.

Because of the crash, Greg went from pulling in $60,000 per month to just $24,000.

That fall in revenue led to the bar running a deficit and Greg starting to rack up debt.

At the time of the Bar Rescue episode, Mandala Lounge is said to be losing $5,000 per month, which is obviously tough on Greg.

To help fix the problems and get Mandala Lounge back on track, Greg called in Jon Taffer and the Bar Rescue team for some help.

To see how the bar was doing, Jon Taffer sent in Mia Mastroianni, a cocktail expert, to recon the bar.

She discovered that the bar was abandoned and had a bland, boring design.

Jon Taffer also has issues with the bar’s pink design, as Jon says that it’s scientifically proven to make people eat and drink less.

I don’t know if that’s true or not, but Jon Taffer does have a PHP in “bar science”, right?

After her recon visit, Mia was left wondering why any young people would want to go to Mandala Lounge.

Greg, along with his wife Carin, also weren’t being great owners.

They were hard on the bartenders and didn’t seem to treat them very well.

Greg also showed some sexism, saying that hot women shouldn’t be bartenders because they can’t do the job as well as men.

Obviously that pissed off Mia, who’s very successful as a female bartender.

As a result of Greg’s behavior, Jon Taffer got into one of his trademark screaming matches with Greg.

He also laid down the law when it comes to cleaning the bar.

Once Jon showed who was boss, he set about renovating and relaunching Mandala Lounge.

As part of the updates, Jon Taffer changed the name from Mandala Lounge to 38th Floor Bar.

Obviously, the new name is a bit playful, as the bar is most definitely not on the 38th floor.

In addition to the new name, 38th Floor Bar also got a new design, a new drink menu, and a completely retrained staff.

Greg’s wife and family are happy with the changes to the bar and how those changes have improved Greg’s mood.

When the bar relaunches, Greg seems to be having a lot of fun and the newly trained bartenders are handling everything well.

When Jon Taffer leaves, things seem to be looking up for the 38th Floor Bar.

So was the Mandala Lounge Bar Rescue episode a long-term success?

Keep reading my update to learn what happened next and if this San Mateo bar is still open in 2024.

38th Floor Bar Update - What Happened Next?

Now that we’ve recapped the 38th Floor Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left San Mateo, CA.

Originally, it seemed like the new 38th Floor Bar was a success.

Greg and 38th Floor Bar made a second appearance on Bar Rescue in the Back to the Bar special.

In that special, Greg said that the bar’s sales were up 40%, which was allowing him to slowly chip away at the bar’s debt.

However, it seemed like that momentum wasn’t sustainable…

Is 38th Floor Bar still open?

Sadly, Greg eventually had to close 38th Floor Bar in April 2016, which is only around a year after the Bar Rescue episode aired on TV.

To go out with a bang, the bar hosted big events on April 29th and 30th before closing at the end of the month.

In April, Greg Hawkins also posted the following message on Facebook about why 38th Floor Bar closed.

While he thanked Jon Taffer and the Bar Rescue team for their help, Greg said that the changes weren’t able to overcome the bar’s debt burden, along with months of declining sales.

Here’s an excerpt of the lengthy closure message:

Dear Friends and Valued Customers,

The 38th Floor Bar will be closing for good at the end of April.

We will be operating through April and sincerely hope you will join us for our final weekend blowout, “THE LAST CALL” on the 29th and 30th.

It has been my great pleasure to serve the community of San Mateo for the last decade.

The opportunity to build strong and sincere friendships with people who arrived to me strangers has been a great joy.

Thank you to everyone who supported us throughout the years.

Your patronage made it possible for me to live my dream of owning my own business.

I want to thank Jon Taffer and the entire Bar Rescue crew for choosing us to be a part of the Bar Rescue legacy.

I will be forever indebted to them for giving us a second chance to recreate ourselves as the 38th Floor Bar.

Unfortunately, this opportunity has not been enough to combat months of declining sales and debt burden.

It is with happiness, not regret that I move on. I have had the opportunity to take a journey not many make.

I look forward to the next chapter as I continue to pursue an enduring dream of having a career in law enforcement.

Overall, Greg seems to be thankful for Jon Taffer’s help and the overall Bar Rescue experience.

So – while 38th Floor Bar’s rescue was originally a success, 38th Floor Bar is now officially closed.

As of late 2022, the old 38th Floor Bar San Mateo location remained empty and still had some of the 38th Floor Bar signage out front.

Below, you can see an image of the Google Street View from November 2021:

38th Floor Bar closed

And then here’s the most recent Google Maps street view update from August 2022 – you can see that the 28th Floor Bar signage is still there:

I checked again in early 2024 and the property seems to still be vacant.

However, I did see that someone applied for some permits on the property in July 2023.

I can’t see exactly what the permits are for, so I don’t know if that means a new tenant is moving in or they’re planning to demolish or renovate the property.

If you live in San Mateo and you know anything about a bar moving into that location, please let me know in the comments.

38th Floor Bar reviews after Bar Rescue

At the time that 38th Floor Bar closed, it had a 3.5 star rating on Yelp, which is good but not great.

That number includes reviews from both before and after the 38th Floor Bar Jon Taffer visit.

Here’s a sampling of a few customer reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…

5 star Yelp review from April 2015:

Bar Rescue in the house!

The old Mandala wasn’t bad, but Bar Rescue really elevated this place into a swanky upscale lounge without being to pretentious.

Major improvements were made in the back patio area where there’s more lighting, new furniture, and awesome heat lamps.

While I’ll definitely miss the kung fu movies on the TVs, 38th floor bar looks like it’s on the up and up.

5 star Yelp review from April 2015:

Dragged a bunch of my friends here right when it opened to avoid the crowds and check out our first ever “Bar Rescue” bar.

This place is clean, comfy and the outdoor area offers more room if you feel cramped by the inside.

We sat at the bar and were greeted by the owner himself who made our drinks efficiently and offered some suggestions.

We mentioned the show and he was open to talking about it.

He’s a chill guy and I’m glad we had the chance to meet him.

We don’t go to bars very often, so I don’t have much to compare this place to, but we had fun.

BOGO free drink with yelp check-in is a great deal that will only last as long as they have Pinnacle vodka so make use of that deal soon!

3 star Yelp review from December 2015:

I’m obsessed w Jon Taffer & Bar Rescue, so had to check out 38th Floor after watching the episode.

Small, dark & trying a little too hard to be swanky inside.

The owner was bartending on a quiet week night.

He was super friendly, warm & engaging (even shaking 2 cocktails at once w a smile)!

Ordered a cocktail, the Transamerican something.

Elderflower, vodka, grapefruit. Well balanced, a little small, $12 ($10 during happy hour).

Glad I stopped in, you can tell the owner takes pride in the place & service.

But was just missing that special something that makes you want to come back to a bar.

Final thoughts on 38th Floor Bar

That wraps up my 38th Floor Bar Bar Rescue update!

Unfortunately, this one is not a long-term success story.

While things seemed to start off well for the bar, it ended up closing almost exactly one year after the Bar Rescue episode aired on TV.

As far as I can tell, the old location still remains empty as of early 2024.

The old 38th Floor Bar signs are still there, too – it’s almost as if it’s frozen in time.

Again, if you live in the area and have any idea why nothing has happened with the property, please let me know in the comments section below.

If you want to see some other nearby Bar Rescue California episodes, you can check out my updates for Fogline Bar / Russell City Grill in Hayward, The Lister / Park 77 in San Francisco, and Sam Jordan’s in San Francisco.

And if you want to share your thoughts on Mandala Lounge / 38th Floor Bar, you can do so using the comments section below.

As always – thanks for reading!

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Last updated: 2024-01-31 09:45

15 thoughts on “38th Floor Bar Rescue Update (Mandala Lounge) – Still Open Today?”

All comments are the sole opinion of the commenter and are not endorsed by RealityTVUpdates.

  1. This one was probably one of my most favorite remodels. Those city windows were amazing and looked real. The blue in the bar looked great as well as that gorgeous patio. It’s a shame they couldn’t make it work

  2. I liked the episode and felt the bar would go places. Now, looking at the location on Google Earth, I see that it is an extremely small location. I would say no wonder it failed. It just seems to me to be too small to attract the necessary crowds, even with the fantastic interior redo. Sorry they didn’t make it.

  3. As a Bay Area resident (including for the 1989 World Series earthquake), I can tell you that the problem was the new name. There aren’t ANY buildings on the peninsula (San Mateo and Santa Clara counties south of SF) that are 38 stories, due to earthquake building codes.

    • I don’t think ANYONE really expected to walk into the 38th floor of a building, just by the signage. The new name was intended to play into the fantasy created by the “windows” inside, which appear to look out from the 38th floor of a high rise. It is specifically geared for people who, like you, live in an area that have no high rises, to allow you to have drinks with the ILLUSION of being in a high rise.

      If people in your area have so little imagination, then you’re right — calling it anything other than “Small, Low Bar in an Earthquake Zone” would be misleading. *SMH*

  4. What????
    I just read the last entry…twice. Does this guy seriously think the problem was the name?? The owner himself said why he was closing. 38th floor was a FANTASTIC name as it went with the decor fabulously. But to blame the closing of the business just because of the name is absolutely absurd. One of my favorite Bar Rescues. Mr. Tapper…well done sir!

  5. Jon Taffer puts his heart into helping people and their bars succeed. I love what he did with The 38th floor, too bad it’s closed now. Cool concept

    • It was COVID19. A virus shut it down. I never had the chance/opportunity to go to a bar. But from the bar rescue episode&Some of these comments here. The bar owner admired his dad. Jon renovated the bar. Made the guys parents be proud of it. End explanation.

      But w/a bar concept like the 38th floor bar that makes u feel like ur 38 floors up. But the bar was alittle small. Which doesnt help. Trying to meet the COVID19 standards&requirements. Is alittle hard. The name of the bar/the owner has nothing to do with it. COVID19 virus chokes everything. So I think from what ppl have said. Bout meeting the bar owner. How friendly he was&staff. Says a lot. Is spot on. Business suffers. The previous administration in the Whitehouse really screwed up on the COVID19 virus. So it shut him down permanently. Its really sad. Ive seen it happen where I live. I live in Chula Vista. In 2015 things were ok. Had a few issues beyond this bar. Gas was low,food was low&cheap,businesses werent shut down/permanently closed. Unable to recover.😔😢.

  6. this was a great bar rescue episode. i loved when the beautiful and talented mia mastroianni made the bar owner eat crow and dropped his ego down a few notches. still too many men out there that think they are superior to women. that way of thinking doesnt work anymore fellers. jon taffer had a great concept for this bar and owner. sorry to see its no lomger open since it looked like a cool place.


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